A Taste of Portugal
The clash of tradition and modernity, amid an amazing array of grape varieties, terroirs and winemaking cultures, makes Portugal one of the most dynamic wine-producing nations in the world today. KIM MARCUS, Wine Spectator
Tinta Cão, Alfrocheiro, Antão Vaz and Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Louerio, Alvarinho... are just some of the native varieties you will see coming from this diverse and fascinating country. While Portugal's benchmark fortified's have long been the mainstay of the country's winemaking prowess there has been a quiet and ongoing revolution in the still wines of Portugal. Riding an ongoing trend in the wine world towards traditional local grape varieties and away from the handful of "international" varieties Portugal is well placed to take full advantage. While sometimes hit and miss in quality, Australia's relatively small import sector has forced the quality 'hand' of the relatively few Portuguese wine importers and we are lucky to really see only the best of what is on offer.
The Quick Sip on Portugal:
North west Portugal - bordering Spain's Rais Baixas the whites are distinguished by their fresh, racy acidity and often accompanied by a wonderful textural almost resiny character. Historically blended but now often seen bottled as single varietals.
The Beiras wine-growing region in the north dominates the quality spectrum of Portugal's red wine and encompasses the Douro, Dao and Bairrada. From the same fortified varieties of Port - oak enveloped and often prettily perfumed at the same time. Long hot summers and the traditional thick skinned grapes lend the wines a deeply coloured and often richly tannic style while modern winemaking and the high altitudes give these wines a wonderful polish and freshness.
The Alentejo with its gently rolling hills and warm climate covers two thirds
of the country, where it's forward, soft and richly-fruited wines. The harsh
winters, hot days and cool nights produce powerful but appealing wines with
great freshness and complexity as well as seductive and lively